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How long before I can file bankruptcy again?

Have you filed for bankruptcy before? Do you need to file for bankruptcy relief again? Bryan Penland, bankruptcy attorney in Columbia, Tennessee with the Law Offices of James Flexer, tells you when you can file bankruptcy again if you have filed in the past.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Bryan Penland. I'm one of the attorney at the Law Offices of James Flexer. I actually manage our Columbia, Tennessee office, and my practice primarily is focused on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcies. Today I want to talk with you a little bit about a question we get from mostly potential clients or clients who maybe are re-filing with us after a prior case, and that's, "How long do I have to wait to receive a discharge in a bankruptcy if I've filed one before?".

Well, the general rule, based on statutes (11 US Code Section 727), indicates that if you file a Chapter 7, you cannot receive a discharge in another Chapter 7 for eight years from the file date of that previous Chapter 7. There are also instances where someone may have filed a Chapter 7 and wants to file a Chapter 13. And 11 US Code 1328 stands for that you cannot discharge any debts you don't pay in a Chapter 13 unless it has been over four years from the date you filed that Chapter 7 previously. So to recap, if you're going from 7 to 7, you have to wait eight years from the file date of that previous 7 before you can get a discharge in the most recent or subsequent 7. If you're going from Chapter 7 and looking to file a Chapter 13, you have to wait at least 4 years from the date you filed the first Chapter 7. Now there are different rules if you're going from a 13 bankruptcy--was your first case--to a 7 bankruptcy, all right? So where someone files a Chapter 13 and receives a discharge, they have to wait six years from the date of filing that 13 before they can get a discharge in a subsequent 7. Now there is an exception to that rule: If you were to pay at least 70% of your general unsecured debt in that first Chapter 13 and the plan was proposed in good faith--which means that you did your best in making your payments under that plan and proposing a fair plan to your creditors--then you can get a discharge less than six years from the date of the filing of the 7. Also, if you were to pay 100% of your creditors in that first 13, the previous 13, you would also qualify for a discharge in a 7 before that six years. There's also the case where someone may complete a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and want to file another Chapter 13 for some reason. Well that rule is a two-year limit on receiving a discharge in a subsequent 13. There is some case law that is kind of bubbling up around districts in the country that are trying to, that were trying to change whether it was from the file date or the discharge date of the case that was filed, but none of that has gotten any traction. So for now, the law is it starts with the file date of your case. So the most common one is probably where you're waiting to file another Chapter 7, and that starts from the file date of the original Chapter 7. You have to wait eight years from that file date before you can receive a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7. If you want more information about bankruptcy, feel free contact one of our offices. We have seven attorneys in our offices around Middle Tennessee. We have offices in Nashville, Columbia, and Murfreesboro. Or you can visit our website, if you're interested in receiving a pamphlet on bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13). You can visit our website at www.flexerlaw.com. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you in future videos.
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